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Inmate from Netflix’s ‘Jailbirds’ sues Sacramento County, sheriff’s deputy over alleged abuse

The lawsuit says in part, "a simple escort from medical turned into a cruel beating of Yasmin Sundermeyer."

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — The mother of Yasmin Sundermeyer, featured on Netflix's Jailbirds, claims her daughter was beaten by Sacramento County Sheriff Correctional Deputies.

Crystal Keller spoke exclusively to ABC10's Madison Wade and said she believes her daughter may have been targeted because of the Netflix show. Months after the conversation, Kellan Patterson, a civil rights attorney, has filed a lawsuit against the deputy allegedly involved and the County of Sacramento for unreasonable force, negligence, and battery.

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Yasmin Sundermeyer, 19-years-old at the time, was one of the first to be introduced on the Netflix show "Jailbirds." At the time of the taping, Sundermeyer was facing charges for stealing a car and leading police on a high-speed chase.  

Her mother, Keller, said it was painful watching the show. 

"It’s disgusting and exploitative and it didn’t make anyone’s case better," Keller said. 

Credit: Netflix
Yasmin Sundermeyer on Jailbirds

Keller believes the show made her daughter a target, not of other inmates, but of jail staff. 

"We just want to know what happened. There are multiple instances," Keller said. 

A newly filed lawsuit claims “on January 8, 2019, a simple escort from medical turned into a cruel beating of Sundermeyer.” The lawsuit says Sundermeyer was being escorted to medical when she got conflicting commands by deputies to either sit on a stool or lie on the floor to remove shackles from her legs.  

"They slammed her down to the concrete floor and put their body weight on her," Keller said. 

The lawsuit says Sundermeyer started to cry and attempted to tell the deputies it was hard for her to breathe.

"She was handcuffed behind her back and shackled while they were doing this to her," Keller said.

RELATED: Netflix's show 'Jailbirds': Where are they now?

The lawsuit says she was then placed into a restraint chair, where Deputy Brittany Linde tried strapping her down.

"She kept kneeing Yasmin in the abdomen over and over again, telling her to stop resisting. It’s literally impossible for her to resist. She’s handcuffed, shackled, and strapped to a chair," Keller added. 

The lawsuit says “Linde’s use of force against Sundermeyer was unnecessary, excessive and unreasonable” and “acted maliciously, sadistically or for the purpose of causing harm to Sundermeyer.”

"I cry a lot. It’s been hard. I recorded some of the phone calls because I knew we had to look into it," Keller said. 

Keller sent ABC10 a phone call she recorded between her and Sundermeyer. It's roughly 11 minutes long and details what Sundermeyer said happened to her. 

Records show Sundermeyer was sent to the hospital months later after experiencing “severe pain” for her injuries from the restraint and the lawsuit says she is worried she may not be able to get pregnant or have a safe pregnancy in the future.

“This is a very, very crazy story. You don’t hear that type of abuse with someone being strapped in a car and being kneed repeatedly and so we started to get information from the county in regards to this incident. It was very clear there were video cameras and we started to look into it," Patterson, her attorney, said. 

Her mom is desperate for answers. Attorneys for the family and ABC10 have filed record requests with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office for video surveillance and information regarding this case. Those requests were denied. 

“My understanding is that if this didn’t happen the way Ms. Sundermeyer had explained it happened, the county would be happy to share this information with me to say no this didn’t happen, look at the footage, our deputies did everything right," Patterson added. 

ABC10 did receive an "appearance release and voluntary participation agreement" document regarding Sundermeyer's involvement on the Netflix show. All other records requests were denied. 

"Justice delayed is justice denied," Keller said. 

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office sent ABC10 this statement: “It is the long standing policy of Sacramento County and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office not to comment on pending litigation.”

RELATED: 'We didn’t have that much freedom' | Former Sacramento County Jail inmates say Netflix’s ‘Jailbirds’ is exaggerated

They have not responded to the lawsuit in court yet, according to Sundermeyer's attorney. A personal letter written by Sundermeyer to her mother claims she has experienced other instances of excessive force and abuse in custody. 

"I've seen her with bruises on her face, on her wrists, on her arms," Keller said. 

Keller hopes the lawsuit will lead to answers.

"I try to be strong. She can’t fight for herself. She’s incarcerated. I’m all she has," Keller said with emotion.

Sundermeyer’s attorney is demanding a jury trial in this case.

Right now, Sundermeyer is in the state prison system serving her term for auto theft and evading police.  

ABC10 also reached out to Netflix for comment, but did not hear back. 

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